PR firms and the link-less news release...

I get a lot of email pitches and other communications from PR firms. Yet the hyperlink - the most basic element of digital docs -- is rare in those documents. Why?
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

I used to be puzzled about why PR people are so miserly about including links into their news releases and emails. Even those PR people that know that they should...often don't.

Yet links are a key Internet currency. Why don't they understand this?!

And I'm fed up of adding links to my posts about their clients and other relevant material because they are absent from the background materials.

I've come to the conclusion that since PR people aren't putting links into their communications then I shouldn't need to put those links into my posts. Clearly, if it were important to them, then the links would be there in the source material.

I used to be puzzled about this behavior but now I think I know why: The reason for the lack of the hyperlink -- the most fundamental element in a digital document -- is that PR people don't get any credit for it.

PR people are paid for story placement -- which is just one side of the story. The SEO benefits from a well-linked story are worth much more.

A link from high-ranked news site will provide far more than a momentary boost in traffic to a company's web site. It provides a high degree of trust that Google uses to determine rankings in key search results.

This is much much more valuable than the actual news or feature story itself because it affects Google's ranking of the company web site for a very long time.

But if the links are missing then the search engine optimization (SEO) benefits from the story will be missing too.

The future will be different. Savvy companies will make sure that their PR and SEO strategies are complimentary and they will ask PR firms to take on a larger SEO role.

However, this will be tricky for many PR firms because they don't understand basic SEO techniques -- as can be seen by the lack of links in their materials.

Editorial standards